In entrepreneurship, people from all walks of life can excel by leveraging their distinct capabilities and creatively addressing a gap in the market. Whether you’re a journalist, an engineer, or, in Kristin Vongvixay's case, a designer, with the right idea at the right time, you can disrupt the status-quo. That is, of course, if you have the skills to pull it off.
Kristin started out working as a graphic designer at a prominent design agency in New York. While there, she was encouraged to take a hands-on approach towards all aspects of the design process. "That experience ultimately gave me the confidence to start my own design studio,” she says.
Upon returning to Philadelphia, Kristin established her company, M1NT, with two classmates she met while doing her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Temple University, home to Fox School of Business. With 65,000 alumni around the world, Temple University provides an expansive network to tap into after graduating.
Temple University has graduated 229 entrepreneurs with operating startups since 2010. Fox’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute proactively nurtures entrepreneurship in the school. At the Small Business Development Center, students incubate their projects and can access consulting and training opportunities.
M1NT emerged out of the chaos of the 2008 financial crash when Kristen and her team decided to adapt. "Many larger design companies could not sustain the impact of the crisis and folded," Kristin explains. While larger companies struggled to survive, Kristin decided to create an agile startup to fill the gap and "do the work that our clients needed regardless of the business climate."
After a few years of managing M1NT, Kristin felt she had to develop relevant skills to catalyze the further growth of the company. She believed that going back to Temple University, and doing her MBA at Fox School of Business would give her the "concrete business acumen" needed as an entrepreneur and creative director.
"As a creative person, I used to run more on instinct," Kristin says. Through her MBA, Kristin developed quantitative skills and an analytical approach to completing tasks for clients. It enabled her to "better articulate the value that M1NT could bring to them." These skills enabled Kristin to optimize processes within the company and frame unique value propositions.
Fox School of Business adopts a targeted approach to skills-building, molding the Global MBA according to trends in the labor market. The school has surveyed managers at over 300 organizations to identify what they look for when hiring. It comes to no surprise then that 95% of students are hired within three months of graduating.
For Kristin, the quality of the cohort and faculty at the school stood out. Around 54% of MBA candidates come from non-business degrees, enabling students to analyze problems from diverse perspectives.
"Students and professors at Fox School of Business are driven, smart and humble,” she concludes, “but most importantly they are team players.”